The formation of love in infant monkeys

This short (4 min) video shows aspects of the Harlows’ experiments with baby rhesus monkeys, who preferred to spend time with their contact-comforting cloth-covered mother rather than the wire mother who provided them with food.

This video does a good job in highlighting some of the ethical concerns we would now have with this kind of experiment – the emotional harm suffered by the monkeys. Textbooks usually counter the unethical aspects with the importance of the study in changing ideas about attachment.┬áThe Harlows’ study was influential on Bowlby’s theory of attachment, for example: Bowlby’s concept of the ‘safe base’ being linked to the comfort and security that the young rhesus monkeys were searching for.